You dont use a split?!Good God!
Often on MT the topic of how often one should train comes up. At the moment I feel there is a rift in people, of some who think the only way of training is pull/push/legs. Let me say that this is wrong. Like anything in the world, there are more than one way of skinning a cat, and finding out what works for you is what should be strived for.
Obviously this doesnt mean, changing routines every 4 weeks because you aren't getting results. Consistency is something which is key here, and will take you far, there are many tried and tested routines, its best to stick to a routine for at least 8-12 weeks to give it a fair analysis.
With training there are 3 things to take into consideration training, volume, intensity. This means if one of those aspects take predominance in your routine the others have to be reduced to compensate so for example someone who uses a full body 3 times per week can neither train with the volume of a traditional bodybuilding split nor the intensity of something such as HIT. Frequency
So lets say you have a traditional bodybuilding split which gives each muscle group more than 5 days worth of rest, you can do two things here, you can have a moderate amount of volume and high intensity or you can have somewhat light intensity with a high volume. However say you decide to train your muscles frequently 2-10 times per week,your weekly volume that you used should be split over the sessions and the intensity dependant on how often you're training. This is a common mistake with some people I believe, many think that if you want to train muscles frequently you can simply perform the same amount of work twice in a week with the same intensity. This is a recipe for serious overtraining.
The best example of how training should be split up over a week if you choose to use high frequency training, is olympic lifters. Olympic lifters train anywhere from 5-12 times per week. "5-12 times!?!" I hear you scream, "surely they will be overtrained!". Well no its not quite as simple, olympic lifters will have anything from 5-20 reps on 2-4 exercises. Volume
Regardless of which method you choose, your weekly training volume should remain the same so say you do a total of 120 reps per muscle group, you can do 120 reps in one session, 60 reps in two sessions, 40 reps in three sessions, 30 reps in 4 sessions, etc. Intensity
There are two trains of thought when it comes to intensity.
1)The quantifiable- percentage of a 1RM ie 85% of 1RM done for 5x5
2)The qualitative- done by feel, this term is commonly used by those too entrenched in HIT philosophies, ie work with a submaximal load until something pops out of your ass
Both have pro's and con's, except with the second method (IMO) it is hard to quantifiably assess the fatigue you will incur from your training, whereas the first method can give a sketchy idea as to the fatigue you might incur. However saying that for different people something such as 85% of your 1RM may be extremely easy or extremely hard. Different Goals- Strength or Hypertrophy
This is going to be quite a simple explanation, but it will have to suffice within the context of this post. According to some literature, those who are focused with strength they should be training as often as possible, with a low volume at each session in order to improve intermusclar and intramuscular co-ordination, and to imprint the motor movements needed for the lifts required. Hence the frequent sessions which many powerlifters and olympic lifters employ. With hypertrophy you dont need as such as many frequent sessions as its all about protein degradation and glyocen expenditure, however this doesnt mean that more frequency isnt a good thing, quite the opposite for some, many react better to more frequent exposures, Samcim and Murphyblew off this site are two prime examples. Another useful thing to do is using a conjugate system where you can train both for strength and hypetrophy at the same time! Some things to consider
* How often, how much, how intense will depend on the persons level of experience. According to Coach Mark McLaughlin of PCT, Oregon, we should all be striving to increase our work capacity gradually. This means that jumping into the deep end of something such as training 10 times per week, or training too intense, or too much volume without sufficiently getting your body accustomed to it is a big no no.
* How stressful is your life? This is something which has to be really considered but never is given much thought, your gains off any program will be very much affected by how many stressors you have in your life.
* Training reps can influence the way the fatigue you incur, ie lifting exposively with 10x3 a la westside method with 50% of your 1RM induces less fatigue than 5x5 with 80-90% of your 1RM.
* Dont try and make your own routines, there are many tried and tested routines, follow them to the T. Tried and tested routines work, and then secondly are well balanced in exercise selection, reps protocols etc Conclusion
Try each method for a while and see what works best for you, I suppose its good not to be too closed minded in training, rotating each method of frequency, volume and intensity can also be a pretty good way of training,rather than sticking to one, and hence giving benefits which arent so immediately seen. Cycling training between methods such as HIT, GVT, and Waterbury style can give gains not seen before from only training in one way and can make your training fun. Although as said before do not rotate between those too frequently stick to each method for 8-12 weeks or however long the routine prescribes.
German Volume Training- http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/luis13.htm
The Gironda System by Christian Thibadeau- http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1100725
20 rep squats- www.teenbodybuilding.com/callum12.htm
Bill Starr's 5x5 mass gain program- http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/jfloyd1.htm
Bodybuildings next frontier by Chad Waterbury- http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do;jsessionid=EBD45E00139772ECE99833534B35BC2A.hydra?id=905832
Here is something Coach Thibaudeau wrote on the forums over at the nation which I think ties in very well to everything said above and goes even further.
Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
I *REALLY* don't like the term difficulty. Difficulty has NOTHING to do with stimulating gains. Juggling 5 knives while standing on a swiss ball is *difficult* but it will not lead to gains.
Stimulating gains is about PROGRESSION. What we want is to make the training sessions progressively more stresful on the body.
Progression is NOT necessarily = to using more weight, although adding weight is a form of progression.
You can increase training stress (progress) several ways...
1. LOADING: using more weight
2. VOLUME via reps: performing more reps with the same load
3. VOLUME via sets: increasing the total workload by increasing the number of sets per exercises
4. VOLUME via exercises: increasing the total workload by using more exercises for a certain muscle group/lift structure
5. DENSITY: by reducing the amount of rest between sets (performing more work per unit of time)
6. ECCENTRIC TUT: by increasing the duration of the eccentric portion of the lifts without using less weight
7. CONCENTRIC FORCE via acceleration: F = mass times acceleration. Method no.1 progress by using more weight (added mass) while this method consist of lifting the same load with more acceleration (thus producing more force)
8. SPECIAL TECHNIQUES: using different, more challenging tecbniques (e.g. cluster sets, extended 5s, drop sets, etc.)
9. EXERCISE: by switching to more challenging exercises (e.g. going from a leg press-based cycle to a squat-based cycle)
10. FOCUS: by working on improving the mind-muscle connection
11. FREQUENCY: by training each muscle group more often
And these are just some ways top progress. So just because you get back to using lower weights doesn't mean that you are taking a few steps back, similarily you don't have to be focused only on adding weight to progress. If you find a way to progress via one of these 11 factors at every workout, you'll improve.
HOWEVER despite all that I've said, do understand that the body cannot adapt in a linear fashion ad vitam aeternam... at some point you will have to take a step back to take a few steps forward. Mow, you can either decide yourself when you take that step back, or wait for your body to force you to take it at which point it might take a while before you can get back to a positive fitness status. That's the point of cycling: varying the training stress in a way that your body is not pushed pass its limit, and yes, that sometimes require taken a step back.
Normally after 12-16 weeks of hard training (one training cycle) you should deload for a week (transition phase) or even 10 days. Then start a new cycle. That new cycle will start from a lower point (stress-wise) than where you ended your last cycle, but higher than where you started it. This is wavelike periodization.
post edited by ice_mach - 2006/07/23 13:12:23